Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
LONG-serving Dynamos midfielder and skipper Murape Murape has been left guessing what his future holds at the Harare giants as the club has not yet offered him a new deal following the expiry of his contract last week.The Glamour Boys are set to begin preparations for the 2015 season this week but Murape, who has had a glittering career spanning close to two decades and winning several trophies with the Harare giants, now faces an uncertain future at the club to which he has dedicated his playing career.
A fiercely committed leader who was a key member of the squad that made history by winning four successive Premiership titles under Callisto Pasuwa, the 33-year-old veteran could find himself jobless if both the Dynamos management and the incoming coaching crew led by David Mandigora decide to overlook him.
Dynamos claim they have adopted a new “rebuilding’’ policy of targeting only young players and Murape might be one of the major casualties of the move that is also being viewed as a ploy to freeze out senior players who are normally outspoken.
The reigning Premiership kings have foregone the Caf Champions League this year and indicated they would want to rebuild with emphasis on younger players and hope to qualify for the continental tourney by winning their fifth domestic title on the trot but this time under Mandigora.
However, it is not clear whether Murape will play any further part in the campaign for a fifth straight championship.
The ageless midfielder has made no secret of his intentions of continuing to play for Dynamos but it is the silence from the club that has left his career on the crossroads.
Murape, aware that his fate was not entirely in his hands, was not keen discuss much about his future yesterday, preferring to wait on the club’s chiefs to spell out their intentions.
“They have not said anything yet and I can only wait to hear from them whether they still want me or not but I am hoping to get clarity on the future on time. As you know, football is my livelihood and, like anyone in such a situation, one is bound to be anxious to know whether you have a job or not in order to plan properly,” said Murape.
A number of key Dynamos players’ contracts expired on December 31 and the Harare giants have indicated that they are pursuing their services.
Secretary-general Webster Chikengezha said their executive has been busy with the negotiations in the last week. While Murape has not yet received a call from his bosses, his two vice captains – Tawanda Muparati and Thomas Magorimbo – have been engaged.
However, second vice-captain Magorimbo has indicated that he wants a move away from the champions this season and will not renew his contract.
The case is different with 2013 Soccer Star of the Year Muparati, who has been linked with a move to How Mine.
Chikengezha confirmed they have had talks with the player and are now considering the demands he has laid down before re-committing himself.
Negotiations are still ongoing for the services of Devon Chafa, Russell Madamombe and Simba Sithole, who are represented by Gibson Mahachi.
DeMbare are also keen on keeping Tafadzwa Rusike and striker Roderick Mutuma but they reportedly could not make headway last week as the players’ agent Edzai Kasinauyo was not available.
Chikengezha said the executive was working mostly on recommendations from the technical team and would not comment on individual players.
“I will not dwell much on individual cases but it’s very obvious that not everybody will be discarded and not everybody will be retained. It all depends on the plans and the strategies of the technical team. It’s not about what the executive or myself wants but it’s something that we have to discuss as a team. The issue of players is mainly left to the coaches. They recommend their players and the executive will work on those recommendations. As an executive, of course, we have an input into that but the technical department have a long rope.”
Although they have kept such players like Mupare, Mutuma, Rusike and Muparati waiting, Dynamos have also moved to acquire new players.
Tall defender Obey Mwerahari (24), Kelvin Bulaji (23), Godknows Murwira (21) and Dominic Chungwa (26) have already signed up for the Glamour boys. Dynamos have also indicated an interest in the signature of Chicken Inn defensive midfielder Danny Phiri.
Chikengezha said Dynamos are deliberately taking a new route that is biased on youth as they seek to build a lasting team.
“About 60 percent of our players are below the age of 26, the main reason being that we would want to build a squad for the future. We have been considering that when buying players because if you go for those in their 30’s it would mean every year you will be looking for new players.
“So this will augur well with our plans to return to the Champions League in future with a more competitive side for years to come. So we will have more bias on youth. The younger players bond well with the more the play together,” said Chikengezha. Murape is not the only season player facing an uncertain future.
CAPS United skipper Tapiwa Khumbuyani (31) and Hwange’s Isaac Masame are still to secure fresh contracts for the 2015 season.
Khumbuyani is waiting on CAPS United while Masame seems set to leave the coalminers amid indications that the club is not happy with his disciplinary record.
Masame is accused of having gone AWOL at Hwange some time last season and his coach Nation Dube said he is worried by the midfielder’s career, which now faces uncertainty.
“Unfortunately he went AWOL last year with five games remaining before the end of the season. He is a brilliant player but it is difficult to understand what he wants.
“Right now we don’t know whether he is coming back or not. We are just guessing but it’s worrisome when you look at a player like Isaac. Premiership teams these days are going for younger players and I don’t know what he is planning to do next.
“We are hoping to retain the core of our team and we should also promote some juniors into the senior side. We have a very vibrant development side which we hope to be drawing players from time and again,” Dube said.